With life insurance underwriting of bipolar disorder we have been very successful in placing affordable policies with clients who meet some basic criteria that I’ve shared a number of times. In this list is implied stability, stability, stability.

1. Someone who has not been hospitalized for bipolar disorder other than for diagnosis?
2. Someone who has not attempted suicide or had bouts with suicidal ideations?
3. Someone who is compliant with their treatment, both medications and regular followups?
4. Someone who is leading a stable family life or social life?
5. Someone who is exhibiting a stable work life?
6. Someone who is not on disability for bipolar and does not have issues with drinking or drugs? If there’s a problem here, then the answers to 3, 4 and 5 are no.
7. Better rates are available if not on multiple meds and/or not on anti psychotic drugs.

There seemed to be some leeway opening up on number 1 in that a few companies allowed hospitalization for med changes, but with further clarification it seems that, while allowable, depending on the company it can’t have been within the last year, sometimes two. Their inferred stance here is that if a med change situation is fragile enough to require hospitalization for monitoring, well, that’s more fragile than stable.

On their side of the argument is the fact that plenty of bipolar patients have meds changed or adjusted without the need of inpatient monitoring, so it really doesn’t appear to me that they are just hanging a rule out there with no basis. Asking for a waiting period, a period of stability after the hospitalization is certainly reasonable.

Bottom line. I’m always searching for more paths to the goal. We’ve helped a lot of people get insurance who had experienced the wrath of being declined, sometimes several times. We hope to keep improving on that by finding more avenues to approval.